Minister calls on Welsh shoppers to keep up the good work and remember to reuse their shopping bags

Minister for Natural Resources, Culture and Sport, John Griffiths has reminded shoppers in Wales to keep up the good work and reuse their bags.

The Minister’s comments follow the latest WRAP UK figures which show that the consumption of single use carrier bags in Wales has reduced by 79% since 2010, and that Wales’ 5p charge for carrier bags is widely seen by the Welsh public as being a positive and successful measure.

John Griffiths said:

“People in Wales have adapted extremely well to our 5p carrier bag charge which was introduced in October 2011 and supermarkets across Wales are full of people reusing shopping bags.

“These latest figures show that consumption of carrier bag use in Wales has reduced by 79% since 2010, and this really is an excellent result, however there is no room for complacency.

“Our 5p carrier bag charge really has had a significant impact on shopping habits across Wales and it is helping us to become a less wasteful society.  I would urge everyone to keep up the good work and reuse bags whenever possible.”

The WRAP figures are based on carrier bags supplied to Asda, Co-operative Group, Marks & Spencer, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. They show that people in Wales were taking an average of  2 carrier bags per person per month from the major supermarkets in 2013 which is an increase from 1.7 per person per month in 2012.

A recent WRAP survey on attitudes, awareness and behaviour shows that that 66%  of those interviewed in Wales say the 5p charge for carrier bags has encouraged them to reuse their bags, 74% think the charge has encouraged people to use less bags, and 46% believe there is less litter because of the 5p charge.

The 2013 increase in carrier bag use in Wales is similar to the experience of Ireland who saw an initial substantial drop in bag use when they introduced a compulsory charge but in later years saw a small increase.

An independent review of the single use carrier bags charging scheme in Wales is due to commence later on this month.